The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which was the focal point of the 66th UN General Assembly in New York, saw more than just the historic bid for Palestinian statehood and impassioned speeches, but also the near-disassembling of the Mideast Quartet, Ynet learned on Saturday.Here is the full Quartet statement:
The Quartet of Middle East mediators, which is made up of the he United States, Russia, the European Union and the UN, worked frantically throughout Thursday and Friday to put together a blueprint which would facilitate the resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, but their efforts nearly brought about the forum's end, with Russia facing off against the United States over the Quartet's draft.
The Russians vetoed Israel's demand for Palestinian recognition of the Jewish state as a prerequisite for the talks, which led to the dismissal of the Palestinian prerequisite demand for the negotiations to be based on the 1967 lines.
After what was described as "harsh, discordant tones" exchanged between the Russians and their Quartet colleagues – which were accompanied by concerns that the former would be excluded from the final Quartet statement – a draft was finally completed.
The Quartet takes note of the application submitted by President Abbas on 23rd September 2011 which is now before the Security Council.As Xinhua reports:
The Quartet reaffirmed its statement of 20th May 2011, including its strong support for the vision of Israeli-Palestinian peace outlined by United States President Barack Obama.
The Quartet recalled its previous statements, and affirmed its determination to actively and vigorously seek a comprehensive resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, on the basis of UN Security Council Resolutions 242, 338, 1397, 1515, 1850, the Madrid principles including land for peace, the Roadmap, and the agreements previously reached between the parties.
The Quartet reiterated its commitment to a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East and to seek a comprehensive resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and reaffirms the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative.
The Quartet reiterated its urgent appeal to the parties to overcome the current obstacles and resume direct bilateral Israeli -Palestinian negotiations without delay or preconditions. But it accepts that meeting, in itself, will not re-establish the trust necessary for such a negotiation to succeed. It therefore proposes the following steps:
1. Within a month there will be a preparatory meeting between the parties to agree an agenda and method of proceeding in the negotiation.
2. At that meeting there will be a commitment by both sides that the objective of any negotiation is to reach an agreement within a timeframe agreed to by the parties but not longer than the end of 2012. The Quartet expects the parties to come forward with comprehensive proposals within three months on territory and security, and to have made substantial progress within six months. To that end, the Quartet will convene an international conference in Moscow, in consultation with the parties, at the appropriate time.
3. There will be a Donors Conference at which the international community will give full and sustained support to the Palestinian Authority state-building actions developed by Prime Minister Fayyad under the leadership of President Abbas.
4. The Quartet recognizes the achievements of the Palestinian Authority in preparing institutions for statehood as evidenced in reports to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, and stresses the need to preserve and build on them. In this regard, the members of the Quartet will consult to identify additional steps they can actively support towards Palestinian statehood individually and together, to secure in accordance with existing procedures significantly greater independence and sovereignty for the Palestinian Authority over its affairs.
5. The Quartet calls upon the parties to refrain from provocative actions if negotiations are to be effective. The Quartet reiterated the obligations of both parties under the Roadmap.
6. The Quartet committed to remain actively involved and to encourage and review progress. The Quartet agreed to meet regularly and to task the envoys and the Quartet Representative to intensify their cooperation, including by meeting prior to the parties’ preparatory meeting, and to formulate recommendations for Quartet action.
The Palestinians on Saturday slammed the statement issued by the International Quartet Committee for peace in the Middle East Friday night, which called for the unconditioned resumption of the direct peace talks between Palestinians and Israel.Palestine Press Agency, a Fatah mouthpiece, reports that the Palestinian Arab leadership is so upset that they are suggesting boycotting Tony Blair altogether, accusing him of corruption and taking bribes from Jewish businessmen while in office. (The illustration here comes from that article.)
The Quartet, that compresses the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia, called on Israel and the Palestinians to resume the stalled peace talks between the two sides within one month, in order to reach a final peace agreement by the end of 2012, saying that "the two sides should abandon obstructions and resume bilateral talks unconditionally."
Ahmed Majdalani, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official told Xinhua via telephone on Saturday that the Palestinian leadership "criticized the statement because it neglected the Palestinian demands of halting Jewish settlement activities in the West Bank and east Jerusalem."
"The Palestinian leadership would review the statement to respond," Majdalani said, adding "but we can say that we have many reservations because it doesn't meet the Palestinian demands."
The PLO official also criticized the statement because it didn' t include the conditions of getting back to the negotiations while talking about a time table.
The article goes on also to talk about how the Russian delegation to the Quartet told the PLO that they were upset at the initial draft statement, and then goes into details about the "Jewish businessmen" who allegedly donated money to Blair in exchange for his supporting Israel.
These voices accuse Blair of political corruption and the lack of objectivity and balance in dealing with the Palestinian position and the Palestinian cause in addition to his known background of cases of financial corruption and suspicious transactions concluded during his term as prime minister of Britain.
Blair is the first leader of the British investigated by British police on charges of corruption, in addition to its history when he took the President of the Labour Party and Prime Minister of Britain, and his dealings of suspicious financial transactions with Jewish businessmen which enabled him to reach the highest echelons of politics in Britain.
This looks like a coordinated campaign by the PLO to destroy the Quartet.